One of the best reasons to watch the Rose Bowl Parade
By Pete Quint
As a certified band geek, I love the Ohio State University Marching Band. Not just because I was in the band (’92-‘96), my father was in the band (’68-‘71) or that my sister was in the band (‘94-’98) but also because of what it means to so many people. The OSUMB is the embodiment of pride for The Ohio State University; it represents over 100 years of tradition and sets the frenzied, emotional tone for every home game. I’m not sure you are allowed to be a Buckeye if you don’t get a little teary eyed during the post game singing of Carmen Ohio. To my knowledge it is the only collegiate marching band funded by the athletic department. Script Ohio makes every “Greatest College Football Traditions” Top Ten list and is almost as recognizable as the football team itself, some would argue more so. The band can stir a thick chewy emotion when mentioned to many Buckeye fans as memories of gridiron glory rush to the forefront of their minds.
That said, reading a Dispatch article recently sent chills up and down my spine as inspiration and heartfelt joy overwhelmed me. Someone else was doing Script Ohio and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Many Ohio High Schools mimic Script Ohio and the bands that are still fortunate enough to have the student numbers can pull it off with great success. It’s always fun to watch youngsters march their hearts out trying to pull off the difficult maneuvers of their university marching counterparts. Now there have been countless High School bands march Script Ohio and you may be wondering why this particular band is making the news. Fact is; this band is made up of entirely blind students.
Say that again?
The Ohio State School for the Blind, under the direction of Mrs. Carol Alger organized a marching band in the fall of 2005 to perform halftime shows for The Ohio School for the Deaf’s football team. Their signature formation, “Script Braille”, is played to the tune of Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse, or Le Regiment, just as it is for the OSUMB and it’s signature “Script Ohio”. The band uses a computer program called FINALE to transcribe regular sheet music into a Braille score that the students can read. They also use another program called SmartMusic which helps the students hear their parts individually or with the entire band. Due to the nature of their disability, each band member is expected to memorize their music. They are the only entirely blind marching band in the country and the only one known in the world.
A Great Honor
This year the OSSBMB Marching Panthers has been invited to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California prior to the Rose Bowl. This will be their first Rose Bowl parade appearance and the members couldn’t be more excited. The entire band will make the trip, 68 members in all, 39 visually impaired student musicians and 29 sighted marching assistants. They intend to do a performance of “Script Braille”.
Make sure you tune in to the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1st and cheer on these amazing, hard working students. They deserve your support and respect for accepting their challenges, developing their talents, and embracing their opportunities. These kids are about to experience something very special that few of us will ever get to. I wish them the best in their travel, their encounters and their performance. Knock ‘em dead, Panthers!